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ORNL Internship

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:55 am
by Solo
HEy, just wanted to throw this out there: I'm applying for a summer internship program at ORNL for undergrads. I'm hoping I get into their plasma/fusion research (which is kinda skimpy, but at least it's there). (They let me request a second choice, so I put PPPL down for that; if I thought I had a good chance of getting in I would have applied there first.)

The main reason I'm aiming for fusion is because I read about Bussard + the polywell on forums! So you guys are doing some good, see! Anyway, wish me luck! :D

PS: any advice on what would be good to pick up in terms of skills, what reseach areas will cross-apply to polywell, that kind of thing?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:55 am
by drmike
Good luck!! It is an absolute blast working in the national labs. Literally :D

Look at vacuum systems and high voltage lay out. Just getting a "hands touching" on some of that stuff (when the power is removed!!) gives you an excellent feel for how to build things. Feed throughs for power and signals from vacuum chambers, where pumps are, where computers are placed for low noise, what data rates are needed, just about everything is really fun and amazing. Soak it up!!

Radiation safety, shielding, interlocks, 2 phase power conversion, RF supplies in the megawatt (or higher) range, etc., etc., etc.... Simply knowing the state of the art in one area helps you build better stuff in another area because there are links between laboratories that are not obvious.

So good luck, I hope you make it in!

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:52 am
by MSimon
Dr. Mike,

I think you mean 3 phase power conversion. Look for 12 SCR Stacks.

Wye and Delta connections. Harmonic currents.

Five hundred volt DC buses.

Although power electronics/electrics are over 100 years old the details are not to be trifled with. And getting the power out clean with low ripple is a trick. Look at multiphase IGFETs for high frequency power conversion. Light triggered IGFETs and SCRs. There is a lot of science there. There is also a lot of Art.

In fact in any of the disciplines the art is much harder than the science because most of the art is unwritten. If you see something funny in a circuit or the way something is built ask.

Learning the science is only the beginning.